Sometime in the early 15th century, Renaissance artist Leon Battista Alberti and architect Filippo Brunelleschi invented the linear perspective. Alberti visualised the one-vanishing-point system in which the artist uses straight lines to decide the movements and positions of objects.
The main lesson of the non-cliffhanger Congress president fiasco was that the party’s perspective doesn’t go beyond a Gandhi. No wonder, it has reached its vanishing point.
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Its netas believe the party cannot exist sans Gandhi. Should the perspective be switched, it’s a Gandhi who cannot exist without the Congress.
Alberti and Brunelleschi laid down three viewpoints concerning perspective: normal, low and high. In all three, the person comes first, not the perspective. Normal viewpoint is how an adult normally sees the world standing up—the true picture.
When voters looked at the Congress three months ago as adults, they saw an inept middle-aged man with a famous last name leading a historical outfit by virtue of his pedigree, not acumen.
When voters noticed his sister Priyanka, whom fatuous Congressmen called the next Indira, they saw a housewife married to a dodgy real estate businessman.
But what did the siblings see? Theirs was the low viewpoint, the position from which children view the world: a location lower than the height of a standing adult.
Both of them saw their family as a great lighthouse braving the storms and tidal waves of history, standing proud and tall above the chaos of politics.
The party was the ship which kept losing its way, and the only light that could save it from the saffron rocks was the Gandhi legacy. They saw their moral authority as larger than reality.
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Such vertigo motivated Rahul’s renunciation while the family retained its right to endorse the successor while eschewing the responsibility of choosing one.
Sonia looked at the scenario from the high viewpoint, from where someone looking down on a scene—from a balcony, a mountain top or as is the case here, a family tree—saw the reality.
Whatever the perspective may be, the reality in an artwork doesn’t change, though the painter’s sight sticks to the angles he has set. The only change is the proportions of the object in sight.
In perspective, the horizon line is the immutable factor; everything expands or contracts from below or above it. The political horizon line today shows that the Congress party is looking at the Family—whether out of fear, investment or hope—from the low viewpoint.
It could still recover if it views the Gandhis at the horizon level of relevance than bowing to their dominant desire to define the perspective.
Politics is the art of programming perception and providing perspective. Without the artist there is no art. The Congress party was the artist of the freedom movement, and the leaders were just the models. Unless the party recovers its true potential as an artist, the bad reviews will keep coming.